Historical information

Ammunition shell was used in a 40 lb Armstrong Rifled Breach Loading (RBL) Gun. The shell was fired into Westernport Bay by the Hastings Battery Field Artillery in late 1800’s or early 1900’s. It was recovered by divers in recent times. It does not contain explosives because the projectile and explosive were separate items.

The Armstrong 40 lb BL Gun
There were 4 x 40lb Armstrong (RBL) Guns issued to the Ham and Beef Battery at Hastings Victoria. After the Hastings Battery field artillery disbanded, the 4 Guns were transferred from the Hastings Battery to the Warrnambool Battery field artillery in 1904. (There is a photograph of one of these guns on its carriage, pictured in front of the Orderly room (Drill Hall) at Warrnambool, which is now the Library of South West TAFE).

The 40lb Armstrong Guns were recalled back to Melbourne when the government issued the updated 4.7inch QF (Quick Firing) Naval Guns, mounted on carriages, to the Warrnambool Garrison Artillery 1907.

The Hastings Museum today holds one of the original 40lb Armstrong RBL guns that were at first at Hastings and then Warrnambool, evidenced by tracing the numbers on that gun. This gun has now been restored.

Surviving 40 lb Armstrong BL Guns in Australia
The Hastings Museum has restored one of the Guns that was at Hastings and then from 1904-1907 in Warrnambool. This Gun is now on display at the Hastings Museum.


This ammunition shell from a 40lb Armstrong RBL gun is very significant because of its association with the Warrnambool Battery Field Artillery in the early 1904-1907.

It is known that the original 40lb Armstrong RBL gun used in Warrnambool is now restored and on display at the Hastings Museum.

Physical description

Ammunition shell from a 40Ib Armstrong Rifled Breach loading (RBL) Gun. Metal bullet-shaped object, flat base, tapering to cone-shaped tip. Parallel equidistant ridges run from outer edge of base to position where cone shape begins. Tip has a square-shaped hole in the centre and has a very uneven surface. Base has corrosion and metal is flaking away. Does not contain explosives. Remnants of white paint-like substance in several places. From the Hastings, Victoria, area. Late 19th - early 20th century.